INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - Three students have been arrested in recent weeks for making social media threats involving Indian River County schools. The schools involved were Storm Grove Middle School, Vero Beach High School, and Imagine School South Vero.
Two of the threats involved the social platform SnapChat. The platform used for the third threat was not reported.
On May 4, the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a threat posted to SnapChat by a 7th grade Storm Grove Middle School student. The student allegedly posted a photo of guns with the caption “Ready for school Monday.”
Detectives tracked the 13-year old student to Sunny Isles, where he was traveling with his mother. The boy was taken into custody and charged with threats to kill, a felony. He was being held at the Department of Juvenile Justice in Fort Pierce.
“This is our third arrest in as many weeks related to threats against schools on social media,” said Sheriff Deryl Loar when the student was arrested on May 5. “We take each one of these threats seriously, with our team working all night for a peaceful resolution in this case. We want to assure parents that this student will not be in school tomorrow, and that we work hard every single day to ensure the safety our entire district.”
On April 31, 18-year old Sean Martin, a student at Vero Beach High School, was arrested for threats, also on SnapChat. Those threats caused a code yellow lockdown at the school.
“As a result of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act of 2018, law enforcement has additional abilities to make arrests when threats are conveyed by text or social media,” Sheriff Loar said. “We talk about school safety every single day. These two incidents near the end of the school year highlight the seriousness of making a threat. It is not a joke and you will be arrested.”
The sheriff reported that Mr. Martin is being held at the Indian River County Jail without bond.
During the week of April 17, according to the sheriff’s office, a 13-year old seventh grade student at Imagine School South Vero was also arrested for making threats. The threats were received after school hours and the student was taken into custody off campus.
The sheriff’s office reported that the student was arrested and taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Fort Pierce.
The Indian River County Sheriff's Office operates a phone and email safety tips line. To report tips involving school safety, call (772) 978-6000 or email SchoolTips@ircsheriff.org. Urgent information should be called in to 911.
Information about past school threats that are still unsolved, or any other unsolved crimes, can also be reported to Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-800-273-TIPS (8477).
The school district’s FortifyFL phone app is now live, and free. FortifyFL was developed as a reporting system for school safety in wake of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida.
Any student, educator, parent, or member of the public can anonymously and easily report school safety concerns directly to law enforcement and school administrators. The app is available for download in the Apple and Android stores, or at www.getfortifyfl.com.